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Hoyt affair may be politics at its worst

   This is ugly stuff.

   A married politician romantically linked to not one, but two, young women is bad enough.

   But add to the mix allegations that the women were interns, that there are two vengeful rivals in a primary battle, some tawdry e-mails and the power of the Internet and -- kaboom!  -- we have something truly hideous.

   On Thursday, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt's camp fought back against the rumors about his affairs that have been posted on a local political website.

   Jeremy Toth, an attorney and close confidant to Hoyt, accused Hoyt's challenger, Barbra Kavanaugh, and her powerful backers of orchestrating the release of the embarrassing e-mails on Joseph J. Illuzzi's website.

   Kavanaugh has adamantly denied any involvement and denounced Illuzzi's tactics, but she also won't ask him to take down a free ad for her campaign that he posted on his website. She says that he did not have her permission to post the ad in the first place.

   In the meantime, the allegations against Hoyt have been taken up by an Assembly ethics panel aiming to determine whether he violated any rules.

   Records obtained by The Buffalo News seem to show that Hoyt is in the clear -- at least legally. In May 2004, the State Legislature enacted a policy forbidding lawmakers from fraternizing with interns.

   Records show that the women with whom Hoyt is alleged to have been involved had completed their internships well before the 2004 rule went into effect. One of the women interned from January 2003 until May of the same year. The other was a student assistant from 1999 until 2001.

   But, of course, that may all be moot in three weeks, after voters cast their ballots in the
September primary.

  -- Maki Becker   


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